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Key Stage 1

Talking for Success: Widening Access to Educational Opportunities through Teaching Children how to Reason Together

This project applied the Thinking Together approach across the curriculum at Key Stage 1.

The ability to talk effectively in order to be able to communicate and to reason with others is essential to success in education and to making a constructive contribution to society. Conversely, inadequate language ability can lead to feelings of frustration and alienation that in turn can lead to aggressive behaviour and exclusion from school.

At present essential talking and reasoning skills are not being taught effectively in the majority of schools. Children who are successful at education usually acquire such skills in their home environments. Other children do not have this advantage, and this seems to be particularly true of those children who are already disadvantaged by poverty and/or an ethnic minority background.

Our pilot research suggests that the lack of language and reasoning skills suffered by some groups of children is a major cause of underperformance in school education and also of behavioural problems. This project aims to improve access to education for these children by teaching them the basic skills that they require for success in education and in life.

Researchers: Rupert Wegerif; Neil Mercer, Karen Littleton, Denise Rowe, Lyn Dawes


Funded by The Esmee Fairbairn Charitable Trust.